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UGANDA – “THE PEARL OF AFRICA”
Visitors fall in love with her breathtaking Rift Valley scenery, lush countryside and incredible biodiversity, this is evidenced by recently being listed by several media & professional as number travel destination due to friendly people, the endangered Mountain Gorillas and chimpanzees and other attractions, big five, big Cats and incredible over 1,066 species of birds, the fabulous River Nile,the country’s cultures and many more.
Location and Size:-Uganda is a located at the geographical heart of the African continent in the eastern region (East Africa). It’s a landlocked country astride the Equator, about 800 kilometers inland from the Indian Ocean. It lies on the northwestern shores of Lake Victoria, extending from 1 south to 4 north latitude and 30 to 35 east longitude.
Uganda is bordered by Tanzania and Rwanda to the south, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to the west, South Sudan to the north, and Kenya to the east. With a land surface of 241,139 square kilometers, Uganda occupies most of the Lake Victoria Basin, which was formed by the geological shifts that created the Rift Valley during the Pleistocene era. The Ssese Islands and other small islands in Lake Victoria also lie within Uganda’s borders.Ecologically, Uganda is where the East African Savannah meets the West African jungle.
The capital – Kampala; Like many histories with different cities, Kampala became Uganda’s capital in 1962 at independence. Before that, Entebbe was the administrative capital of Uganda. Kampala today is growing at a high speed with new buildings all over the city. It’s surrounded by seven hills and therefore some people call it the city of seven hills hence attracting different interested people and also the development on these hills. Kampala lies to the south of Uganda and is bordered by Lake Victoria. it covers a radius of approximately 10 kilometers wide. It is the most populated city in Uganda which is estimated to cover population 8 million people due to the factor of being Administrative, business and commercial center of Uganda. Kampala hosts a number of diplomatic missions with most of the embassies are located due the good security and.
Places of interest within Kampala: – There are various places of interest in Kampala which you may be interested to have a look or relax within a city dirve, Ndere center – center for traditional African dance and drum celebration, the Uganda museum, the national theatre, Bahá’í Temple, Kabaka’s Lake which is under plans of innovation, Kasubi Royal Tombs the world heritage site was finished to be rehabilitated, a Kings Palace, Gadhafi Mosque, Namirembe & Rubaga Cathedrals, Nakasero & Owino market and also craft center for local drama and good shopping for African crafts and souvenirs.
Accommodations: A number of good hotels, lodges, guest houses, motel, which all are fitting every one’s budget, are available in Kampala. Elsewhere across the country like in the National Parks, lodges and camps are generally available, but the quality of service and quantity of rooms differs from one another which determine the prices. Bulamu Safaris Ltd takes the responsibility to book the best accommodation available for your safari depending on your request.
Weather: Uganda has the gift of holiday weather all year around! There are two reasons: one is its location on the Equator which crosses through and the other is its elevation. Both of these give Uganda the gift of perfect weather.
The majority of the country has a tropical climate which varies according to altitude. The hottest months are from December to February when the temperature reaches 29 degrees. It has 2 seasons that is; rainy seasons are from April to May and October to November. The wettest month is traditionally April (although global warming is making this less predictable). The dry seasons are usually June, July august, December and January. Even during the two rainy seasons, the sun is out most of the time and rain often occurs with a most delightful thunderstorm. When it rains, it pours – but soon as is stops the sun’s rays are seen again making the Uganda’s weather prominent.
Temperatures in some parts of the country can be quite cool owing to the country’s high altitude, despite its position on the Equator. The mountainous and high lands areas become much cooler and the tops of Mount Elgon and Rwenzori Mountains are often covered with snow. Other parts of the country like the northern parts are much warmer due to different factors like vegetation’s etc.
Culture: Uganda has a very strong cultural heritage. It is composed of many regions, each with different cultures with more 60 different languages and spoken depending on their locations; Uganda is as diverse in culture as it is in terms of landscape and wildlife. As a result of migration and intermarriage, most Ugandans have ancestors from a variety of Uganda’s ethnic groups. The recent restoration of kingdoms has boosted cultural tribes. These include Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro and Toro. Ugandans hail from a diversity of rich cultures and life styles and are remarkably hospitable. Each tribe has its own traditional norms.
The most interesting group is, Bagisu of the Mount Elgon region which are mainly known for their colorful Imbalu (circumcision) ceremony, an individual initiation of young boys to manhood that peaks in activity in and around August of every even numbered year. The karimajongs, if a man is to marry a wife form a different family, he has to first wrestle her and if he wins that’s when he can marry that woman. We got the Rwenzori foothills are home to the hardy Bakonjo.
Getting to Uganda:
Uganda has several Airlines flying in and out of the country and the international airport is Entebbe which is regulated by IATA, which lies 40km from the capital Kampala, acts as a landing base for different and various number of international airlines. Scheduled airlines flying to Entebbe include: Turkish airlines, Air Tanzania, British Airways, SN Brussels, Fly emirates, Gulf Air, South African Airways, KLM, Kenya Airways, Rwandair Express, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Eagle Air and United Arab Airlines to mention but a few, both Direct flights from Europe, Asia, North America, and from other African countries.
By Road:Buses and taxis are available from the airport to the city. Wide networks of buses/taxis run throughout the country connecting almost every town in different districts outside Kampala. Within Kampala, public taxis, special hire taxis and motor bikes provide transport within the city and its suburbs. These are found on major roads in the city centre, as well as the two taxi parks, before boarding a taxi though sometimes always be responsible to take care of yourself and you always need to agree on a price before departure.
By water: ferry services operate from Tanzania, Mwanza to Port Bell, on Lake Victoria.
Domestic flights:There are several airstrips within the country; this has made flights to tourism destinations very accessible. Examples of airstrips can be accessed in destination areas to include Kidepo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls and more airstrips are almost in every part of the country.Crossing the border right documents and Visas may be required.
Light summer clothing, supplemented by a sweater or jacket, should be sufficient at any time of the year. Cotton slacks and flat-heeled comfortable walking shoes are recommended on safari. Don’t forget to bring a hat and sun glasses for sun protection since the equatorial sun can be deceptive even on overcast days is recommended to avoid sunburns. A swimsuit, and insect repellents, most especially in a rain-forest and generally in national parks, Umbrellas and windbreakers are recommended in the wet seasons.
Fresh tropical fruits and vegetables are available throughout the country. A wide range of dishes, both traditional and international from continental including Italian, Chinese, Ugandan, Indian and more. The finest restaurants and hotels in Uganda are located in Kampala, the capital city, although 4 and 5 star lodges in the National Parks boast excellent cuisine. If you have any dietary restrictions, please advise us in advance. Most food is organic so in case of different dietary requirements there are always also available alternatives. Drinking water, in most cases tap water is not recommended or you can boil it first. And in most hotels, lodges and restaurants they provide bottled mineral water which is available throughout the country.not forgetting the regular tropical Ugandan local dishes which you might want to try, they usually high in carbohydrates, you will not go hungry! Staples include: matoke (steamed green banana), posho (maize flour porridge), sweet and Irish potatoes, chapati, cassava, yam, rice, goat stew, bean or beef stew, fried chicken and groundnut sauce.
You will generally be expected to purchase your own drinks on safari. Most camps/lodges have a reasonable selection of wines and spirits – with the more upmarket ones generally offering more choice. Beer, cool drinks (sodas), bottled water, local gin, etc. are readily available everywhere. Prices vary depending upon where purchased.
Gorilla Trekking: Please note that mountain gorilla trekking is a strenuous activity that requires a certain level of physical fitness to be enjoyed. The minimum trekking age is fifteen years. Anyone with signs of a communicable disease will not be allowed to trek. While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking and sighting the gorillas, the quality of the gorilla trekking cannot be guaranteed. Maximum time allowed with the gorillas will not exceed one hour.
We strongly recommend that clients bring certain items along with them from Kampala, including a rain poncho, knapsack, long-sleeved shirt and trousers, sturdy hiking boots, leather gardening-type gloves, sunscreen, insect repellent and any necessary medications. Cameras and video cameras are allowed (use of a flash is not) – film and batteries should be carried from Kampala. We recommend the use of a high altitude filter and high speed film for the optimum photography.
Health Requirements: Certificates may be required for vaccinations against yellow fever. Check current medical advice on typhoid, cholera and hepatitis. But these diseases are NOT common, so do not feel obliged to spend hundreds of dollars on injections. Malaria risk is general, and a prophylaxis should be taken. It is advisable to start anti-malarial medications 10 – 14 days prior to arrival and continue with the same for 14 days after leaving East Africa (please consult your physician).
Language: English is the official language of Uganda. Kiswahili and Luganda are also commonly spoken. In addition, there are over 40 local languages spoken throughout the country.
Luggage: On most flights, airlines allow 20-40kg of luggage, or two pieces. We prefer that clients use soft cased bags since space for luggage is limited in safari vehicles. And also at some circumstance you may leave the at the store of your accommodation of stay or at our offices
We can easily arrange for the storage of those items that you will not be using while on safari.
Banking: The Banking Sector in Uganda is growing stronger every year with local and foreign owned commercial banks and forex bureaus in Uganda. The Central Bank is Bank of Uganda.
Working hours for most of the Banks are 8:30 to 4:00pm every Monday to Friday while on Saturday they operate half day. Most forex bureaus are open on weekends and some run for 24 hrs.
Money (legal currency):The Uganda shilling is the legal currency in Uganda. There are no restrictions on money transfer in and out of the country. The Uganda shilling is divided into denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 for paper notes, while coins are in the denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500. Hard currency cash can be changed for local currency at banks and private bureau de change in all large towns. It is recommended that you carry only US dollar notes issued after year 2000.
Traveler’s cheques: Travelers cheques can be exchanged at most banks in Kampala (though you may face some challenges when exchanging in town outside Kampala. However, they may not necessarily be exchanged at the foreign exchange bureaus. Exchange rates on traveler cheques are generally slightly lower than those for cash.
Photography: it is advisable to bring good cameras with high resolutions for better image qualities and also travel with your battery chargers (or to purchase them in Kampala). High-camera resolutions/megapixels recommended for photographing gorillas and chimps and high altitude filters are best for climbers.
There is no charge for the use of personal cameras and video recorders but if it’s on a commercial basis, like filming there may be a charge in some places (e.g., national parks). Clients are responsible for any such fee. Binoculars will greatly give your safari experience and it is recommended to come along with you.
Security: As in any other major city, Uganda is increasingly developing to one of the top safari holiday destinations in the world. With the improvement of infrastructure and political stability, the tourism industry is soaring to greater heights. The country is very safe both in cities and remote areas. However some common sense precautions should be taken in Kampala to ensure one’s safety and protection of one’s personal belongings.Do not flaunt your wealth by wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large wads of money openly, Leave your valuables with the hotel for safe keeping.. Avoid changing money in the streets. Likewise avoid overcrowded streets we recommend that you do not walk alone late at night. Taxis are readily available and not expensive.
Sports Facilities: In addition to the activities outlined on this web-site (e.g., white water rafting, hiking, climbing, quad biking, golfing, etc.), a number of sport facilities may be accessed in Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja city centers, including a good gym, squash, tennis, and swimming.